I'm leaving my current position as a Software Developer in two months, to get started with my bachelors degree, but my Team Leader is not giving me any work to do. I also had a talk with him, about a week ago, where he gave me some tasks, but I already finished those (and told him that). He also said he would figure some more things out, but since then, there was no reply.

I want to do something for the company for as long as I'm here. And it's not like I'm doing nothing, but mostly it's just learning stuff, with little context to my actual work (as in learning another programming language, which is not used at my company). And it is making feel a little bad and as if I had to hide something from everyone else.

The other thing is I basically have nothing to lose, because I already got a reference letter for the work I have done. The only thing is I would loose is the salary for the next two months, which I need.

How should I deal with this Situation?

Should I ask for more work?
Even if my team leader can't give me anything, without making an effort to teach me something, which obviously wouldn't pay off.

Should I just keep on going like this?

  • If you have nothing to do, but have two more months with the company, then YES you should ask for more work. ( this will keep you on good terms with your employer and keep you from being bored to death ) If you lead cannot come up with tasks for you, ask his boss.
    – Neo
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 12:58
  • I did ask for work, but like I said, there is nothing to do for me, which wouldn't need schooling.
    – xFlowDev
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 13:00
  • I would bring a book that interests you, related to your work if possible. Keep asking, and ask via email. This way you can show you are wanting to work while still there and hopefully you won't be shown the door. You could also ask your team members and see if you could be of service to them.
    – Neo
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 13:02
  • That's basically what I'm doing. I saw how it was a little unclear of what I'm doing right now and updated my question. What I haven't done is asking again, since I have not done actual work for about three days, which happens sometimes, but not without a respone of my team lead.
    – xFlowDev
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 13:11

3 Answers 3


Be proactive!

I would suggest to talk to your team leader on a regular basis, but instead of begging for work, tell him you finished the last task he gave you and you will, with his authorization, start a new task (defined by you):

  1. Hand-over. Try to list all the things you are the only one to know/to do and try to pass it on to other team member.

  2. Work-flow optimization. You know the environement, and you know the pains: try to solve some of them. It could be a handy script, or a new angular dashboard for developers, etc.

  3. Maintenance. You can update some librairies or solve bugs/issues using tools as FindBug or Sonar.

  4. Documentation. You can created/edit documentation. Documenting things are often the last step programmers do (and often de-prioritized by management to get to the next thing.)

It is a good experience for you to be able to provide an added value to the company even if nothing is required of you. Your team leader will appreciate it, you will learn something just thinking about enhancements at the work place and you will be able to demonstrate your professionalism in the next interview!

  • 6
    I'd add writing documentation to the list. It's always the thing we think we'll do when we have time, and never end up doing. OP now has time. :)
    – Kathy
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 14:15
  • @Kathy I agree, as the ancient proverb goes "There can never be too much documentation and/or comments /* needs to be loadtested */" Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 11:34

Your team lead may be making the sensible call in giving you nothing to do.

I have been in your team lead's position, and sometimes your doing nothing may be the most productive thing for the team. Starting to work in an area you are not familiar with is likely to need some input from other team members in terms of teaching or mentoring, or runs the risk of you checking in code with mistakes. This is likely true even if you are a good self-learner. With two months to go it may not be worth other people taking the time getting you up to speed.

First (which I think you have already done) make sure your team lead is aware that you are available to do more work and would like more work. If she doesn't give you any, ask if she is OK with you doing some general learning until a task becomes available. Then treat the time like a free gift of learning time. Learning about something that is somewhat related to your job would be good, but since you are about to go to school, reading up on subject you know you will be studying there would also be good. If your company has access to a new technology you would like to learn about, do that.

Check in fairly frequently with your team lead to make sure there are no tasks he wants you to work on, but other than that, enjoy the free learning time. Remember when you come to apply for jobs after graduation, that this was a company that valued learning and didn't waste your time, and consider applying to them again.


I did ask for work, but like I said, there is nothing to do for me, which wouldn't need schooling.

This point is realy bothering me , have you thought about the fact your lead knows his job , and asked you to "school" some stuff because you don't yet have the required level to help on the next tasks ? I know it can be hard to acknowledge but maybe you don't have what it takes yet to work alongside the team on bigger tasks.

But if it's not the case then you should totaly do what François Gautier told you. Come up with tasks you can do , or see with the team members if they'd be ok to share some work with you.

  • I did not mean to say, that my team leader does not know his job. The thing is: My Company is running a big project right now. And as I still was a trainee until the beginning of this year, I could not pick up the things, they had planned for me in the mean time. So it happens that everybody is somewhat prepared to work with/on this project, while I'm not, hence explaining missing knowledge and needed training.
    – xFlowDev
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 14:01
  • I can see 2 possibilities here : 1) Your team leader lost faith in your capacity to do your job as expected (respecting the deadlines) and is only waiting for you to leave (on you own , or in two months) 2) Your team leader is waiting for you to learn what you lacked/still lack to give you bigger things to do because right now he can't afford to loose time on the big project because of you.
    – Rolexel
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 14:24
  • 1) I don't think this is true, firstly because both my team leader and HR told me so and secondly, which also regards 2), they also know I'm leaving in two months. It's part of the working contracts here, for both parties to have some time, to look for a replacement or another job, depends on who is ending the contract.
    – xFlowDev
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 15:24

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